Edgar Allan Poe was an American writer and poet. He is best known for his macabre poems and short stories, and is considered to be the central figure of Romanticism in the United States. He is also known as being the father of the genre of detective fiction thanks to his early mysteries featuring the French detective C. Auguste Dupin, which were a great inspiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
John Watson, amazed when at their first meeting Sherlock Holmes is able to deduce that he is a veteran recently returned from Afghanistan, compares Holmes to Poe's Detective Dupin, and remarks that he had no idea people like him existed outside of stories. Holmes returns that comparing him to Dupin is hardly a compliment, as he considers him to be an "inferior fellow" reliant on superficial tricks like replying to people's thoughts before they speak them; "no means such a phenomenon as Poe appeared to imagine."
Watson continues to be doubtful that Dupin's trick of following his companion's thoughts is possible: to convince him otherwise, Holmes performs the same trick on Watson regarding his own current thoughts. Though Watson remains amazed, Holmes continues to insist the trick is superficial and that he only performed it to show Watson it was possible.
The opening of "The Adventure of the Cardboard Box", where Holmes guesses Watson's thoughts, is sometimes moved to this story, depending on the edition.
At her first dinner meeting Sherlock Holmes, Watson's fiancée Mary Morstan confesses to being an avid reader of detective stories by the likes of Poe and Wilkie Collins, and is fascinated by Holmes' work because of it. However, she is doubtful that such powers of observation are really possible. She therefore asks Holmes to do a reading of her (over Watson's strenuous protests), which ends predictably badly: Holmes, realizing she has very recently been previously engaged abroad, accuses her of abandoning her former lover to chase Watson's money. The truth, however, was that her fiancé, Charlie Severin, had died.
- Edgar Allan Poe on Wikipedia.